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Experts harp on conducive housing sector to boost economy

Experts in the realty sub-sector have revealed that a conducive and energised housing sector could boost Nigeria’s economic recovery strategies. They made the submissions through a housing development group platform in Abuja.

A real estate expert, Mr. Victor Mayowa wondered why federal government is yet to understand that a virile housing sector is critical to economic recovery. He lamented that federal government’s partial interest in agriculture and solid minerals is a fundamental error in visioning even as he wondered if the two sectors could spur economic growth.

According to him, “We have seen projects (NHP) like this one all over the place all the time. What is the philosophy behind it?
How does it fit in within the overall housing delivery strategy in the short, medium and long terms?
Is the housing delivery architecture sufficiently reconfigured and strengthened to guarantee the sustainability of the project?”

Mayowa regretted that the mortgage sub-sector is virtually dead adding that it’s impossible to create virile housing sector without vibrant mortgage sub-sector. He was hopeful that there are Nigerians with vested interest in government and the Central Bank of Nigeria, which have refused to allow the sub-sector to utilise its full potentials. The expert noted that the 2.5 percent contribution to the National Housing Fund (NHF) cannot create adequate number of mortgages given the low salaries paid to workers in the public and private sectors.

Mayowa stated that the 30-year roadmap which the former minister of housing, land and urban development, Mrs. Amal Pepple unveiled during her tenure addressed all the burning issues in the sector. He stated that Union Homes Savings and Loans Limited and several mortgage institutions are in a state of comatose, stressing the need for the administration to prioritise housing.

Also, the former president of Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP), TP Steve Onu revealed that the problems in the sector are majorly from the ministry of power, works, and housing who failed to initiate programmes for implementation of the provisions of the policy. He wondered how the ministry concluded in building 50 units of housing per state despite the increasing population of Nigerians. However, the Convener of Abuja International Housing Show, Barr. Festus Adebayo noted that though the minister of power, works, and housing, Babatunde Fashola informed that the NHP is currently ongoing in all the states, which Nigerians are yet to know the actual beneficiaries of the project.

He noted that Nigerians are still wondering if such houses would be purchased through NHF or outright sale and the cost of each unit of the houses.

“If the present government is interested in National Housing Policy document of the previous administration, they would have looked into it and adopt it other than starting the NHP that only focused on building of housing estates (50 units) in each of the states”, he said.

Adebayo stated that it is only the minister and his team that would provide useful explanation on how they resolved to build 50 units of housing in each state, adding that the project would be abandoned soon.
On his part, the managing director of Justin Okpu & Co limited, a facility management company, Prince Justin Okpu regretted that government lacked the political will to implement the National Housing Programme (NHP).

He described the operations of the housing sector as a musical cord producing scattered notes saying that until the keys are tuned to produce a synchronized sound that Nigerians would continue to listen to discordant tunes from the sector.

Okpu called for a review of the NHP, stressing that he earlier had extensive discussions with two elderly retired civil servants who narrated their frustration in accessing homes through the National Housing Fund (NHF) contributions.

He wondered why any government would compel workers to contribute a certain fraction of their wage to a purse promising them accessible home, and at the same time reneging on the promise.

He added, “If government cannot fulfill her own part of the obligation on NHP, I think it is high time they expunge the laws empowering NHF and Nigerians should be ready to test its legal strength and moral legitimacy in the corridors of adjudicates.”

Credit: Leadership

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